Thank you SACC-GA Trainees Jonna and Linn!

We would like to thank Jonna and Linn for their work with the Chamber during spring and summer 2018 and wish them good luck with their future endavours!

 

Jonna André Karlin
Business Development Coordinator

Favorite memory: Cooking Swedish midsummer dinner for my Atlanta family, it was a magical night and everybody were surprisingly liking the herring!

Like most about Atlanta: That it is such an international city! People are open, intereseted and easy to talk to.

Best learning experience: Working with our memeber companies, it has been an amazing experience working with Arycom, Elekta, Paramount and Tugende. To be a part of these different teams and organizations was truly inspiring and taught me so much about communication and working with colleagues abroad.

I’m proud of: Being a part of developing the chambers use of digital tools and online structure.

Next step: Looking forward to coming back to Atlanta at the end of August for Arycom! But first some Swedish summer vacation!

 


Linn Lind
Marketing & Event Coordinator

Favorite memory: I’m leaving Atlanta with lots of great memories. One of my favorites is when me and my friends went to a Braves game. It was an amazing experience being a part of the patriotic Braves fans and very different from Swedish sports events.

Like most about Atlanta: The combination of Southern culture and the international atmosphere! Atlanta has been an exciting place to explore and live in with the mix of vibrant city life, diverse areas and beautiful nature. I’ve also appreciated the Southern food.

Best learning experience: Organizing Sweden Day taught me a lot about event and project management. Assisting member companies and being a part of Global Atlanta has also been a great learning experience and given me great insight in the international business community of Atlanta.

I’m proud of: Our work with planning Sweden Day – an evening filled of great networking, Swedish culture, amazing food and performances that everyone seemed to enjoy!

Next step: I have a couple of weeks left at the Chamber with two more events planned before returning to Sweden. I’m going to study the MSc program in accounting and finance at Lund University and am looking forward to using my experience and international mindset I developed during my time at the Chamber in my further studies. I’m excited to return to Atlanta in the near future!

 

Interview with Monica Swahn, Tugende Design

Monica Swahn moved to the U.S from Stockholm, Sweden in 1989. She is a professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Georgia State University and recently started the social business Tugende Design with her husband Charles as a way to extend her work in the communities of Uganda.

 

 


Tell us about Tugende Design!
Tugende Design is a small social business that I recently started with my man Charles as a way to extend the work I do as a professor. I work a lot with women and their families in Kampala, Uganda in my work but wanted a way to give back to these families in a quicker and more concrete way than my research does. I found out that the women create jewelry with beads from recycled paper and when I talked to them, they said that they needed a market for selling their jewelry.

 


As a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, Monica works with Makerere University in Uganda.
A lot of her work is community based, developing alcohol policies to improve the living situation.


For the last year and a half, we have worked with more than 50 women who creates jewelry and bags. We have set up an online store here in the U.S and exhibit the products regularly at markets and fairs in Atlanta. The purpose is to help and empower the women in the Uganda communities. When we grow bigger, we are hoping to be able fund community projects. We are still a start-up but I am really hopeful we can make this work. I love the jewelry and always wear it myself.

 


Monica has worked with more than 50 women through Tugende Design.
Besides making jewelry, the women also make beautiful bags.


What does the word Tugende mean?
Tugende means “let’s go”. One might wonder why anyone would call a business “let’s go”, but to me it made sense. For me, it means to travel and make a difference. It’s a call to action and that is why I love it. Let’s go, let’s make a difference.

How did the journey of Tugende begin?
It really began when I talked to these women and saw the hardship that they face with violence and HIV and not being able to send their children to school. We had to do something! When I saw how talented they were with jewelry, it became a non-brainer.

What are your plans for Tugende in the future?
My goal is to find a bigger market for our jewelry and to change people’s perception of paper beads, not everyone knows that it is a very sustainable material. Besides from growing as a social business, our aim is to start a non-profit to extend our help to the Uganda communities. My hope with Tugende is to help at a more micro level; to help individual families and to empower women and use that as a way to fight violence and HIV and their hardship through addressing poverty. We are working to increase Tugende’s visibility, which is something that the chamber is assisting us with. Of course, we are interested in connecting with potential partners.

 


One of many handmade necklaces from Uganda that are sold in the U.S

at tugendedesign.com


What is your most memorable moment from your operations in Uganda?
Oh, I have so many special moments. It is a true privilege to be invited to these women’s homes and to hear their stories but I think that one of the most profound moments for me has been when I met Grace, one of the women that we are working with. We named one of our necklaces after her, it is Grace and her team who make it. She is such a champion for her community, a polar of strength. Many women in her village, including herself, is living with HIV. It was Grace who made sure that they all got tested and that they will live better lives with access to treatment. Their living situation is very sad but Grace somehow represent a glimpse of hope. She is a real pillar for the community. Its inspiring and    motivating to hear about these women who invest in their communities.

When I asked Grace what I could do for her, she said “Monica, if you can find a market for our jewelry, that’s enough”. It’s very humbling to me, that she is willing to work for a better life. I told her that every morning I wake up, I’m going to think about what I can do for Tugende Design that day, and that’s what I do. Every morning, I check social media and make lists. I am super busy as a mother of three and with a job that is more than full time and I do this on the side. Whenever I question if this is going to work and if I have enough time, I think of Grace. If Grace can make it work, so can I. In that sense, she is with me every day.


Why did you join the chamber?
I was really impressed when I came to the open house with Swedish semlas earlier this year and talked to the leadership. I always think of myself as a professor but as it turns out, I’m a business woman too. The chamber has developed several ideas for how to collaborate, and to get a Swedish perspective on operating a business in the U.S. has been valuable. Being a proud Swede, this is a Swedish business and I’m thrilled about this partnership and the opportunity to benefit from the expertise at the chamber.

 


Monica and Charles at Sweden Day earlier this year.


What has been your outcome from the SACC-GA membership so far?
We’re relatively new members but I’ve gone to several events already. The networking has been great! I’ve met some people that I think I will socialize with personally. I got to meet the honorary consul at Sweden Day and I’m very excited for our upcoming meeting. The professional network and benefitting from the expertise about starting businesses here is really valuable to me.

Text: Linn Lind

 

Sweden Day 2018

SACC-GA hosted Sweden Day 2018 on June 6 in collaboration with the Swedish Consulate of Atlanta and SWEA. The celebration of the Swedish National Day took place in beautiful Magnolia Hall in Piedmont Park.

Thank you to all guests, sponsors and volunteers who made this evening wonderful!

A special thanks to photographer Randy McDow at Randmc Photography and videographers Georgie Lu and Jonathan Gabriel at Arrhythmia Films!

Diamond Sponsor: Skanska

Platinum Sponsor: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Gold Sponsors: Embassy of Sweden, Washington D.C., Thomas Concrete
& Elekta

Silver Sponsors: Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, SWEA, Autoglo Inc & Scandinavian Festival

Lunch & Learn – GDPR Seminar with Arnall Golden Gregory

Lunch & Learn with SACC-GA & Arnall Golden Gregory

GDPR Seminar

Kevin Coy, Partner in the Privacy Practice at Arnall Golden Gregory gave us valuable insights about the new General Data Protection Regulation.

We want to thank  Arnall Golden Gregory for having us and Kevin Coy for making us prepared for GDPR.

You can find the presentation here.

Member Feature: Meet a Swedish Trainee at gatc LP

Interview with a Swedish Trainee

Ebba Endoff

Digital Marketer

gatc LP

 

Ebba is a Swedish trainee at gatc LP, a corporate member at SACC-GA. She has been with the company since September 2017. The original plan was to stay in Atlanta for a year, but that plan quickly changed into 1.5 years. Ebba is mainly working with gatc’s online marketing and digital presence and is in charge of their social media activities, but also assists with business development and market research.

Why did you choose to do a traineeship in the U.S?
I grew up in the state of Washington and lived there for 7 years so I’ve always felt at home here in the U.S. After attending college in South Carolina as an exchange student for almost a year, I wanted to come back to the South and found this opportunity through SACC and felt like it was meant to be.

What interested you in doing your traineeship with gatc?
My position is oriented towards marketing and business development, and since I have my academic background within marketing management, I wanted to get hands-on experience. It felt like the perfect fit and I also really liked gatc’s business model.

Can you tell us about gatc’s business?
gatc helps foreign companies (mainly from Europe) to establish and expand their business on the U.S market. We have been around in the U.S. for 35 years and have successfully established over 200 companies here.

What are the major challenges for businesses that are entering the U.S. market?
That’s a big question, but off the top of my head I would say that we have seen that people think it’s easier to establish business here than it actually is. The culture differences shouldn’t be underestimated. Perhaps you are familiar with some aspects of American culture through personal experience, but the business culture, banking systems, bureaucracy and business mentality can be quite different. We also see that foreign companies are sometimes not aware of the many state differences.

Have you noticed any cultural differences between doing business in Europe and the U.S?
Yes, I have. Americans don’t have the same distinction between work and free time. Also, the vacation and maternity leave regulations are more generous in Europe. Another thing I have noticed is that the American saying, “good is good enough” is something that many people live by here, making them very efficient. Europeans are often more detail oriented which can be time-consuming. People here are better at small talk and often start their meetings taking some time to talk about something else than business, which is usually not the case in Europe.

As a recent student at a Swedish University, what is your contribution to gatc, a U.S. based company?
We are targeting more Scandinavian based companies now, so my understanding of the Swedish community and how Swedish people prefer to be approached is valuable. Coming here as a student, you have updated knowledge and recent insights in new theories that you are able to apply. I really feel that I get to use my knowledge in digital marketing.

What has been your most valuable experience as a Swedish trainee?
I have really valued the opportunity to get hands-on experience of conducting business in the U.S. My supervisor has given me a lot of freedom to participate in various events, and I’ve also gotten the opportunity to take charge of my own projects. On a personal level, it has definitely been a learning experience to adapt to a new culture. Even though I was here as a student 2016/2017, I am now living here long-term and get to connect with different kinds of people with various backgrounds. The South also taught me that it’s possible to eat chicken and waffles together, haha.

Member feature: Paramount Transportation Systems


S
ACC-GA member since 2015

Interview with Robert Cormier
Group Director, Strategic Development

Tell us a bit about yourself and Paramount!
I’m the Group Director for Strategic Development at Paramount. I’ve been
with Paramount in the U.S. for just over four years and I’m based in Raleigh, NC.
I’ve been in the relocating and moving industry for 27 years and lived overseas for
19 of those years; in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. I’ve also
lived in Boston, and in California for five years.

Paramount has its headquarters in San Diego, CA and was established in 1996.
The organization has steadily grown since, from one location in San Diego to
locations all over the key cities in the U.S. and Canada and a newly established
office in Mexico. We also have large operations in Germany and Singapore. The
company is currently moving over 40,000 international moves per year, which
makes Paramount the largest international moving corporation in terms of
moving volume. We’re growing rapidly and have a close relationship with the
largest airline companies in the U.S. For the last six years, the focus has also been
on domestic moving services that doesn’t require moving with airlines on the
request of our corporate clients.

Why did Paramount join the chamber?
Sweden is one of the markets we feel is underserved. There’s no relocation
firm that focuses on Swedish relocations and we therefore felt that we should get
more involved in this market. I met Sara Henriksson (Executive Director at the time)
at an event held by the German Chamber and she introduced me to the
Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce-Georgia.

Which was the latest event you attended held by the chamber?
I attended Sweden Day and the Golf Tournament last year. I also visited Sweden House
in D.C. and SACC Summit 2017.

What trends do you see in the logistics industry?
We see a change in the allowances that companies are offering for their moves, it’s
a combination of cost and the environment. Younger customers that are
relocating don’t move a lot of furniture which means that we have to adapt to the
shipment allowance.

Which opportunities does this create for Paramount?
Our operations aren’t large, with around 200 employees, which make us able to
adapt to this change by changing our structure. We are utilizing our partner network
and it doesn’t affect our cost structure.

We’re investing a lot in technology systems, such as apps and electronical applications.
This makes it easier for the younger generation to communicate. We are also capable
to do video surveys to determine how much weight and volume our customers need to
ship, which means that we don’t actually have to go to our customers’ homes.

SACC-GA welcomes Linn to the team

WELCOME NEW EVENT & MARKETING COORDINATOR LINN LIND

What do you look forward to the most?
I really look forward to experiencing the southern culture. My previous studies in the US increased my interest for international business, so I am looking forward to arranging networking events to build bridges between Swedish and American business.

What will you bring to your position and SACC-GA?
Previous experience in event planning and marketing from my engagement in a non-profit student organization gave me organizational skills that I hope will be useful in my position as event and marketing coordinator. I will also bring a creative mindset to the chamber with lots of ideas for networking opportunities.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?
During my time at SACC-GA, I am hoping to gain insight in how to conduct business in the US and to learn more about the American culture.

Tell us a little about yourself!
I am originally from Linköping in Sweden and I hold a BSc in Business and Economics from Lund University. I have had an interest in horses for as long as I can remember and during my studies in Lund, I was active in Lund Student Riders’ Association, where I have held the position as riding group responsible as well as managed sponsorships and PR. During last fall, I did an exchange semester at Pepperdine University in California and I am truly looking forward to further my experiences in the US at the chamber.

SACC-GA welcomes Jonna to the team

WELCOME NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR JONNA ANDRÉ KARLIN

With the rain and warmer weather we’ve been having I think it’s safe to say that spring is on the move. For SACC-GA this means that new trainees are joining the team and we are proud and happy to welcome Jonna André Karlin to the Business Development Coordinator position. Read on to get to know more about Jonna and her thoughts on the upcoming time here in Atlanta!

What do you look forward to the most?

First of all I look forward to meeting the current team at SACC-GA and listen to their experiences from their time in Georgia. I also very much look forward to getting a closer insight into the American business culture, and getting a deeper knowledge of the overall American culture.
I look forward to exploring where Sweden and America differ, where we are alike, and how we can create more business opportunities between the two of us.  And of course to meet Linn, the other intern, who is arriving in March!

What will you bring to your position and SACC-GA?

I hope to bring energy and enthusiasm to a team I know already have a lot of both! I also hope to contribute with my experience as a Project Manager and with my passionate interest for Communication and Sales.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

A more developed understanding of the organizational structures of American businesses, deepen my cultural perspective, and many new conversations!

Tell us a little about yourself!

  • I’ve been a faithful subscriber to the comic book “The Phantom” for many years, and it took me a while to pack and store my collection in preparation for my trip to Georgia.
  • I’m a skilled cook and frequently work as a chef in restaurants around Stockholm.
  • I love red things. My current favorite piece of clothing is a bright red woolen scarf.
  • I have two idols. My Sister and my Brother. My Sister is one of the smartest and strongest people I know. My Brother is my role model of bravery. He is determined and pursues his ambition of becoming an actor.

Once again: welcome to the team, Jonna!

New adventures for SACC-GA trainees

SACC-GA’s fall 2017 trainees have soon completed their time with the chamber and they are both looking forward to new adventures here in Atlanta and back in Sweden. Read on to learn about some of their achievements of this fall and the new adventures that await.

 

Ashkan Eghtesadi-Azar  — Business Development Coordinator, SACC-GA fall 2017

Favorite memory: When the board members told us how happy and positive they were about our work with the Lucia Gala. It was the first time that I was a part of planning such a large event, and to get that positive feedback just felt amazing.

Like most about Atlanta: Definitely the southern hospitality!

Best learning experience: Meetings with current members and target companies. It has given me an understanding of how business is done in the US and has been very rewarding.

I’m proud of: This will sound slightly patriotic…but I’m proud to have been a part of Sweden abroad for a full year, not only here in Atlanta but also at the Embassy of Sweden in Thailand.

Next step: I’m staying in Atlanta actually. I’ve landed a second trainee position as a project coordinator for cross-cultural teams with Processminer.

 

Sara von Sydow — Marketing & Event Coordinator, SACC-GA fall 2017

Favorite memory: When Ulrika sang ”Fire” at the first release party we went to at Bravo Ocean Studios. Atlanta has a great music scene and I’m so glad I got to experience it first hand.

Like most about Atlanta: That it’s so international and vibrant. There’s always something going on, there’s tons of great restaurants and parks and places to hang out. It’s a fun place to be.

Best learning experience: When the venue closed 2 hours before our fall wine tasting event. The whole process of cancelling, setting a new date and starting over with marketing etc. gave me valuable practical experience and I learned a lot about event management in the following weeks.

I’m proud of: The fika event we did at Bufab USA. It was the first project with the chamber I managed and coordinated on my own and it turned out nicely. Bufab Sweden even distributed the marketing material internally, which was exciting.

Next step: I will end my internship at the marketing department of Elekta Inc. in January and February. It’s a great opportunity and I’m excited to learn from the Atlanta marketing team before heading back to Stockholm and the Elekta headquarters in March. It seems like the SACC-GA internship truly got my career off the ground!

Smart Business – Public & Private Sweden

Hartsfield-Jackson Director of International Business, SACC-GA Board Member and nominee Alrene Barr got the opportunity to join the SI visitor program ”Smart Business – Public & Private Sweden” in October where the importance of CSR, politicians connection to the private sector and universities, and children’s rights were central topics.

The program gave insight into how business can be done in a smart way by involving the triple helix – government, universities and private sector – when creating new policies. The Swedish Model, Children’s Rights and corporate social responsibility requirements in Sweden were some of the topics covered during the four day program in Stockholm. Six international delegates were selected for the program and in addition to the US, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Qatar and Turkey were represented.

The open and transparent culture of Sweden showed clearly on the day where a tour took the group walking straight through Parliament building with no metal detectors in sight. To mix in a bit of private sector one day was spent at the technology park where the Research Institutes of Sweden, RISE, and companies such as Ericsson and over 100 testbeds and demonstration facilities reside.

That the Swedish government has a Minister of the Future, wants to be a driving force on UN goals, has strong CSR policies in place and sees the future as a business opportunity to forecast and invest in were some key take aways from the program. Alrene hopes to be able to visit Sweden again, in July, when the Swedish politicians and parties meet in Almedalen on the island Gotland to promote themselves, meet the voters and hear what they have to say.

The journey’s goal was to strengthen the already existing relationship between the American Southeast and the Swedish community and to expand opportunities for trade and development between the two. Perhaps now a new direct flight is up for debate?